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Alternative Title

Novel approach to stage specific anthelmintic drug discovery

Publication Date


First Advisor

Steven A. Williams

Document Type

Honors Project

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts




Helminth, Nematode, Filiarial worms, Neglected tropical disease, Gene regulation, Transcription factors, Promoter, Helminthiasis, Tropical medicine, Genetic regulation, Catalyst supports


Helminthic infections contribute enormously to the social and economic burdens imposed by human and livestock disease. Current therapies are insufficient and necessitate the development of new anthelmintic drugs. Such development depends on expansion of knowledge of helminth biology to discover new vulnerabilities within parasitic life cycles that can be exploited therapeutically. The complex life cycle of parasitic helminths, consisting of multiple stages in distinct environments, relies upon exquisite gene regulation, but the precise nature of stage-specific regulation has yet to be determined. Using the filarial nematode Brugia malayi as a model, we have identified gene regulatory sequence motifs that correspond to stage-specific gene expression. We also explore gene regulation at the protein level through development of a method to identify putative transcription factors that bind such promoter motifs. Application of our combined approach to examine molecular evolution through both nucleotide and protein structures will further expand the data available to investigate the biology of parasite helminths with potential implications for intervention in human, livestock and wildlife disease via the development of new therapeutic alternatives to current treatments for these diseases.




127 pages : color illustrations. Includes bibliographical references (pages 122-127)